Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, made by the pineal gland in the brain. Its main function is in regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, but it is also a powerful antioxidant and may have some functions with fertility, the immune system and beating cancer.
Many people use Melatonin just after dark or 1-2 hours before bedtime to help them sleep.
There is a lot of interest in the anti-oxidant properties of melatonin. We know that certain toxins (called oxygen radicals) damage the chromosomes in sperm and eggs, so researchers wonder whether antioxidants can reduce the damage and produce better embryos.
There are also studies underway of babies born very prematurely, to see whether antioxidants such as melatonin may help prevent brain damage.
At this stage in Australia, the TGA approves the use of melatonin as a sleep-aid in the over 55s, although many women use it for its potential egg-boosting properties. Melatonin can’t be recommended in pregnancy due to a lack of studies, although it is not believed to have any bad effects.
Melatonin and Fertility = watch this space!
If you have questions about your pregnancy and would like to speak with an obstetrician, call the rooms for an appointment on 03 9415 6077 and ask to see Dr Vicki.